United States District Court, D. Hawaii
CURTIS M. ABORDO, Plaintiff,
STATE OF HAWAI‘I, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY, Defendant.
ORDER (1) GRANTING APPLICATION TO PROCEED WITHOUT
PREPAYMENT OF FEES OR COSTS; AND (2) DISMISSING COMPLAINT IN
PART WITH PARTIAL LEAVE TO AMEND 
Derrick K. Watson, United States District Judge.
March 13, 2019, Plaintiff Curtis M. Abordo, proceeding pro
se, filed a Complaint against the State of Hawai‘i
Department of Public Safety (DPS), in which he appears to
allege violations of certain constitutional rights by DPS.
Dkt. No. 1. At the same time, Abordo filed an application to
proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP
Application”). Dkt. No. 2.
Abordo's IFP Application
courts can authorize the commencement of any suit without
prepayment of fees or security by a person who submits an
affidavit that demonstrates an inability to pay. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). While Section 1915(a) does not
require a litigant to demonstrate absolute destitution,
Adkins v. E.I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co., 335
U.S. 331, 339 (1948), the applicant must nonetheless show
that he is “unable to pay such fees or give security
therefor, ” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a).
Abordo has made the required showing under Section 1915(a).
In the IFP Application, Abordo states that he receives social
security disability payments in the amount of
$669. Abordo further states that he does not
receive any other income, he has no things of value, and has
no money in a checking or savings account. Abordo also
reports monthly expenses of $600 for rent.
light of these figures, it appears that Abordo's income
falls below the poverty threshold identified by the
Department of Health and Human Services'
(“HHS”) 2019 Poverty Guidelines. See HHS
Poverty Guidelines, available at:
addition, it appears that Abordo has no assets sufficient to
provide security. As a result, the Court GRANTS the IFP
Application, Dkt. No. 2.
Screening of Abordo's Complaint
Court liberally construes a pro se Complaint. Eldridge v.
Block, 832 F.2d 1132, 1137 (9th Cir. 1987). However, the
Court cannot act as counsel for a pro se litigant or supply
the essential elements of a claim. Pliler v. Ford,
542 U.S. 225, 231 (2004); Ivey v. Bd. of Regents of Univ.
of Alaska, 673 F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982).
Complaint, one factual source appears to provide the basis
for all of Abordo's claims. More specifically, Abordo
alleges that, in 2014, he completed serving a period of
probation. Despite this, he alleges that, on March 11, 2017,
DPS illegally arrested him for violating the probation that
he had fully served. Due to that alleged event, Abordo
appears to allege that various constitutional rights were
violated. The Court addresses those claims below to the
extent they can be discerned.
Complaint alleges that Abordo was falsely imprisoned and
unlawfully detained. A claim for false imprisonment and/or
false arrest, ordinarily, falls under the Fourth Amendment.
See Fayer v. Vaughn, 649 F.3d 1061, 1064 (9th Cir.
2011) (applying Fourth Amendment principles to claims of
false arrest and false imprisonment). “For both false
arrest and false imprisonment, the essential elements are (1)
the detention or restraint of one against his will, and (2)
the unlawfulness of such detention or restraint.”
Reed v. City & Cty. of Honolulu, 873 P.2d 98,
109 (Haw. 1994) (quotation, internal quotation, and
alteration omitted). The existence of probable cause to
arrest, though, is a defense to any such claim. Id.;
Fayer, 649 F.3d at 1064-65. “Probable cause
exists when the facts and circumstances within one's
knowledge and of which one has reasonably trustworthy
information are sufficient in themselves to warrant a person
of reasonable caution to believe that an offense has been
committed. This requires more than a mere suspicion but less
than a certainty.” State v. Maganis, 123 P.3d
679, 681 (Haw. 2005) (quotation and emphasis omitted);
see also Fayer, 649 F.3d at 1064.
the Complaint appears to allege a Fourth Amendment violation.
In Hawai‘i, “[u]pon the termination of the period
of the probation or the earlier discharge of the defendant,
the defendant shall be relieved of any obligations imposed by
the order of the court and shall have satisfied the
disposition of the court….” Haw. Rev. Stat.
§ 706-630. Abordo alleges that he was arrested for
violating his probation, even though he had “fully
served” his probation at the time. Thus, at the time of
arrest, there was no probable cause that Abordo had violated
his probation, assuming the truth of the allegations.
Court acknowledges that the factual allegations in the
Complaint are sparse, and there very likely is more to the
story than that which is contained within the four corners of
the Complaint. Nonetheless, for present purposes, the
Complaint alleges a plausible claim of false arrest/false
imprisonment and, despite the paucity of facts, puts DPS on
notice of a Fourth Amendment claim. As a result, for
screening purposes, the Court does not dismiss this claim.